Disappointment at council's closure of north Derbyshire village's only playground

Community leaders have criticised a council decision to close the only children’s playground in a north Derbyshire village because of anti-social behaviour.

Thursday, 21st April 2022, 7:11 am

The Cross Street playground, in Hillstown, near Bolsover, was described as a ‘Godsend’ during the coronavirus lockdowns when it offered youngsters and families somewhere to enjoy outdoors.

However, Bolsover District Council says the play area has long been troubled by anti-social behaviour and it has taken the ‘difficult decision’ to close it.

All play equipment must now be removed within 28 days.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Community leaders have criticised a council decision to close the only children’s playground in Hillstown, near Bolsover.

Chairman of Scarcliffe Parish Council, Coun Malcolm Crane, said: “The council very much regrets this decision to terminate our lease agreement and close our small children’s playground.

"The park is well appreciated by local families and has been a Godsend during the Covid lockdown.

"For the first time in decades Hillstown has no secure area where small children can play.

These signs have appeared at the children’s playground on Cross Street, Hillstown.

“We are aware of allegations that older children and young people have caused a nuisance in the playground.

"We have communicated with both the police and Bolsover District Council to try and address these allegations of anti-social behaviour. The council has informed Bolsover District that we would expand our already extensive security fencing still further but has been told this is not an acceptable solution.

"We have also requested use of CCTV to help identify anyone behaving in an anti-social manner so the police can take action against individuals.”

The parish council says it is seeking legal advice.

Bolsover District Council said its decision follows ‘a catalogue of incidents of nuisance, anti-social behaviour and criminality’, including the use of violence, threats and criminal damage aimed at local neighbours and the community, together with allegations of drugs use.

A spokesperson added: “Attempts to resolve the problems over the past 13 months, using both the council’s own powers and in conjunction with the police and lessee have unfortunately failed to resolve the problems which have persisted. Forfeiture of the lease was a last resort.

“It is unfortunate that a minority of irresponsible users of the park have behaved in such a way that has led to this decision having to be made.

"The district council takes this action in line with its duty to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and to help protect local communities from behaviour of this kind.”